Having only had one point on my license for some 12 months is a scary feeling – the cops can get you for anything, my list of fines so far include the obvious speeding tickets, to careless driving and even an unbelievable fine for “undue noise” – apart from the speeding tickets (If you haven’t got a speeding ticket yet, your driving the wrong car) the other fines I would have loved to contest had I the money or time.
So living on 1 point is very scary indeed, but whats worse? Losing your license. WA have introduced a new which allows those who lose their license to opt out for a new good behaviour license, which in otherwords means you get one point for 12 months, but if you screw up, they take your license away for twice as long as they were going to in the first place.
“If the original licence suspension was for three months, then with the ‘double or nothing’ legislation, a driver would be suspended from our roads for six months,” said Assisting Planning and Infrastructure Minister Tony McRae.
Mr McRae says that studies have shown that the introduction of similar legislation in other states have shown 70 per cent of drivers who accept a second chance change their behaviour to become better, safer drivers. Being one of those 70% drivers who managed to last on one point (literally by a matter of days) I am glad to see this law introduced in more states. No longer will WA drivers need to take the matter to court to maintain a license.
Drivers who lose their licences but wish to go on the new system (‘double or nothing’) can do so without hiring a lawyer or attending court. Police Minister John Kobelke said the scheme was worth a trial as it may make WA roads safer and stop disqualified drivers from getting back behind the wheel.
“You have a situation where a number of people lose their licences and then they apply for extraordinary licences, so they’re back on the road through that procedure,” he said.
Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan said police were always looking for new ways to cut the road toll.
“My understanding is research shows it’s been effective, but time will tell,” he said.
Before I go into my police bashing rampage, I will WA some credit as this system is long over due. However, I can never emphasis the need for new types of ‘fines’ to stop bad drivers. Speed cameras dont save lives. Don’t believe a word of it, research in the UK, America and many other European countries has shown over and over again that if anything, speed cameras increase the risk of accidents as drivers spend more time concentrating on their speedo than the road!